Great Storms of The North American Great Lakes

Great Storms Of The North American Great Lakes

Ever since people have traveled the Great Lakes storms have taken lives and vessels. The first sailing vessel on the upper lakes, the Le Griffon, was lost on its return from Green Bay in 1679. Since that time, memorable storms have swept the lakes, often in November taking men and ships to their death. With the advent of modern technology and sturdier vessels, fewer such losses have occurred. The large expanse of the lakes allows waves to build to substantial heights and the open water can alter weather systems (fog, lake effect snow). Storm winds can alter the lakes as well with large systems causing storm surges that lower lake levels several feet on one side while raising it even higher on the other. The shallowest lake, Lake Erie, sometime see storm surge rises of 8 or 10 feet. Seiches cause short-term irregular lake level changes, killing people swept off beaches and piers and even sometimes sinking boats The great tolls caused by Great Lakes storms in 1868 and 1869 were one of the main reasons behind establishing a national weather forecasting service, initially run by the U.S. Army Signal Corps using telegraphs to announce approaching storms in a few port cities.

Some of the deadliest
Great Lakes storms
1860 Lady Elgin: over 400 dead
1835 "Cyclone": 254 dead
1913 Great Storm: 244 dead
1880 Alpena Storm: about 100 dead
1940 Armistice Day: 66 dead
1916 Black Friday: 49 dead
1958 Bradley: 33 dead
1905 Blow: 32 dead
1975 Fitzgerald: 29 dead
1966 Morrell: 28 dead
1894 May Gale: 27 dead

Read more about Great Storms Of The North American Great Lakes:  Lake Erie Gale (1811), Storm in The Age of Canoes (1825), Early Steam On The Lakes (1835), The 1905 Blow (1905), The Big Storm (1913), Black Friday (1916), Armistice Day Blizzard (1940), Duluth Storm (1967), Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald (1975), The Lake Huron Cyclone (1996), The "Chiclone" (2010), Superstorm Sandy (2012), See Also

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